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Three years have passed since I was given the opportunity to extend my advocacies for the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs in the country as the presidential adviser for entrepreneurship. Since President Duterte got elected, our President has been active in promoting inclusive growth, the kind of development which should and must be felt by all Filipinos from all sectors.
Given the task, I am in a unique position to work closely with the government and the private sector and encourage collaborative work to achieve the goals we have established for the common good of our countrymen which is inclusive prosperity.
Last Aug. 21, after the appointment of Agriculture Secretary William Dar, we had an insightful meeting together with Go Negosyo adviser for agripreneurship and Mindanao development programs Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar, and SL Agritech Corp. president and Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber president Henry Lim Bon Liong.
During the meeting, Secretary Dar shared his vision for the agriculture sector: “Inclusive agribusiness is the way forward. From here on, we will always consult with industry leaders and any consensus that we arrived at, that will be our shared decision for the goal of the country. We will reinvent and reorient Philippine agriculture and direct it towards the path of modernization and industrialization, with the aim of making it more productive, competitive, sustainable, resilient and inclusive. And let us not forget the aim of increasing the incomes of farmers and fisherfolk. Our twins Ani and Kita must be nurtured. Masaganang Ani or high productivity and Mataas na Kita or prosperous income for All.”
Our discussion revolved around further efforts to harness strong public-private partnerships, inclusive business with and for Filipino farmers, and support Sec. Dar’s developmental plans and reforms for the agriculture sector.
During some of his press conferences, Sec. Dar mentioned that he is mandated to alleviate the lives of our farmers and fisherfolks. Now that he is the DA chief, we know that this mandate from the President will become a reality during Dar’s term because since the new DA head has been a strong ally in our advocacy for the sector. I personally believe that Sec. Dar is an excellent addition to the administration as it pursues inclusive growth for all Filipinos in all sectors.
Secretary Dar also mentioned his plan for his first 100 days in office, with specific priority points. He expounds on his eight paradigms which he calls the “new thinking for agriculture.” This includes modernization of agriculture, the industrialization of agriculture, the promotion of exports, farm consolidation, roadmap development, infrastructure development, higher budget and investment for agriculture, and legislative support.
With the vision to form an agri-entrep private sector alliance with the champions of the agriculture industry, the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship, in conjunction with DA, plans to help small farmers through continuous mentorship and other technical support which would be supplemental for our MSMEs and farmers.
Agreed upon during the meeting was the formation of a stronger private sector group to help the DA realize its mission of bringing prosperity to our farmers. Thus, we will establish an alliance of agriculture stakeholders to provide support and assistance to Sec. Dar.
Some of the agriculture champions we will tap are Henry Lim Bon Liong (SL Agritech Corp.); Sabin Aboitiz (Aboitiz Group); Feliciano Torres (Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing Inc.); Justin Uy (Profood International Corp.); Simon Bakker (Kennemer Foods); Winston Uy (Universal Leaf); Tennyson Chen (Bounty Fresh); Rosalind Wee (W Group of Companies); Chit Juan (Kape Isla Coffee Corp.); Toto Barcelona (Harbest); Ruth Novales (Nestle); and Danny Fausto (DVF Dairy Farm).
We, in Go Negosyo, are willing to work with Sec. Dar in his mission to strengthen our agriculture sector. Our program, the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program which we do in partnership with the DA has reached all regions in the country and aims to help agri-entrepreneurs through agri-based associations and cooperatives by capacitating them in various areas of business. Since its launch in 2017, KAMMP was able to bring the program to all 16 regions, successfully trained more than 2,500 farmers, and produced graduates in close to 1,000 agri-based cooperatives and farmer associations.
Moreover, Go Negosyo, through the enhanced partnerships with the private sector leaders and stakeholders, particularly in forging 3Ms (money, market, and mentorship) in agribusiness, is set to further expand its ongoing partnership with the DA to bring prosperity for all farmers in the country.
I believe that Secretary Dar is an asset to the administration as he pursues inclusive growth for all Filipinos in the agriculture sector. I express my full support for Secretary Dar and we hope to achieve the shared goal through the strengthened partnership of Go Negosyo and the Department of Agriculture to further serve our farmers and fisherfolks, agricultural cooperatives and associations, and MSMEs in the country.
We have to improve the lives of our farmers and make the sector more sustainable despite its many challenges. If we really want to change the landscape of prosperity for our country, we must pay attention and give importance to our farmers and other players in agriculture.
Through the formation of an alliance, we can forge a stronger effort to ensure that innovation in the field is supported through programs that will sustain growth.